Debate teams continue winning ways

By Usman Ahmed

The Chicago Debate Society (CDS) is once again poised to be among the nation’s best debating clubs, placing third at the 2005 American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) National Tournament that took place April 8– to 10.

University debating clubs must qualify to attend the National Tournament, which is the premier contest on the ADPA circuit. Two teams, one of Ian Kemp and Tim Fletcher and the other of Tom Ross and Elliot Tapper, qualified to attend this year’s tournament, hosted by Wesleyan University.

In addition to placing third at the tournament, Kemp, a fourth-year in the College and president of the CDS, and Fletcher, a third-year in the College and treasurer of the CDS, placed eighth in the team-of-the-year rankings. Ross and Tapper, both fourth-years in the College, placed 21st at the tournament. Kemp and Fletcher also won accolades for their individual rhetorical skills. Fletcher was fifth-place speaker and Kemp was 21st-place speaker at the tournament.

Chicago’s performance at the 2005 tournament, its strongest showing in history, caps an impressive slew of recent accomplishments, including first-place awards at the 2004 Harvard and 2003 Stanford Debate Tournaments, as well as strong performances at the 2003 Oxford University Debate Tournament and last year’s APDA National Tournament at Swarthmore College.

“The last four years have turned us into a major player,” Fletcher said, noting that in the mid-1970s, the CDS was among the most respected debating clubs in the country.

While this may have been the team’s best year-long performance in its history, Fletcher is convinced that the team will continue to improve in its climb to the top. “We have an enthusiastic and brilliant group of young debaters returning [next year], and I am confident the team’s success will continue,” he said.